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36 Vintage Christmas Desserts Inspired by Grandma

Dust off your grandma's cookbook and make one of these vintage Christmas desserts for your holiday feast.

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Grandma’s Red Velvet Cake

In our family no one thinks it’s Christmas without this Red Velvet Cake recipe. I baked the first one for Christmas in 1963 when I found the recipe in the newspaper and my Mother kept the tradition going into the ’80s. It’s different than other Red Velvet Cakes I’ve tasted over the years, since this one tastes only mildly chocolate and the icing is as light as snow. —Kathryn H. Davison, Charlotte, North Carolina
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Peppermint Stick Dessert

With every spoonful of this cool, creamy concoction, my family goes back in time to when our Grandma Dagmar made it each Christmas. The minty, refreshing flavor can’t be topped. —Dianne Oertel, Racine, Wisconsin
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Cardamom Spritz

As far back as I remember, I have loved cardamom. My grandmother often added the spice to her baked goods. I usually make these cookies in a camel design with a camel spritz press I found at a thrift shop—it reminds me of a time when I rode a camel in the desert while deployed with the Navy. Of course, any design will do! —Crystal Schlueter, Northglenn, Colorado
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Spiced Upside-Down Apple Pie

My grandma taught me to make this pie when I was 4. Over the years I’ve kept it about the same with just a few changes. Flip it out the second it stops bubbling. The glaze it makes looks like stained glass. —Francine Bryson, Pickens, South Carolina
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Grandma's English Trifle

This scrumptious trifle recipe is a family heirloom. My grandmother would make an enormous dish of it for Saturday night dinners when they often had guests. If there were leftovers, they'd eat that English trifle dessert every night that week until it was gone! —Ruth Verratti, Gasport, New York
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Spiced Rum-Nut Brittle

Seasoned with cayenne pepper and cinnamon, this spicy microwave brittle packs its own heat and warms up holiday visitors. It also makes a superb stocking stuffer! —Terri McKitrick, Delafield, Wisconsin
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Molded Cranberry-Orange Salad

When I take this dish to potlucks during the holidays, people always ooh and aah. Feel free to top with whipped cream for added appeal. —Carol Mead, Los Alamos, New Mexico
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Soft Peppermint Spritz Cookies

This quick recipe makes a lot of cookies, and the peppermint flavor is a change from traditional spritz cookies. I tint some of the dough green or red, and I leave the rest white. The decorating ideas are endless! —Carole Resnick, Cleveland, Ohio
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Old-Fashioned Stollen

Stollen is a Christmas tradition in Germany. The fruit-filled yeast bread is topped with icing, candied fruit and almonds. Its shape resembles a giant Parker House roll.
—Linda Hinners, Brookfield, Wisconsin
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Amaretto Ricotta Cheesecake

There's a good reason why this cherished recipe was handed down to me by a relative. It's a keeper! The amaretto and ricotta make for a truly unique dessert. —Isabel Neuman, Surprise, Arizona
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Grandma’s Scottish Shortbread

My Scottish grandmother was renowned for her baking, and one of the highlights whenever we visited my grandparents was her bringing out the baking tin. Her shortbread cookies were my favorite, and now, whenever I make them, I remember her. This is not a thin, crispy dessert shortbread; it’s a deep bar that is best served with a cup of tea. —Jane Kelly, Wayland, Massachusetts
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Honey Gingerbread Trifle

My husband’s grandma made the most amazing honey gingerbread. It’s wonderful all on its own, but when you add it to a trifle, your guests are sure to ask for the recipe. —Tami Kuehl, Loup City, Nebraska
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Cranberry-Almond Apple Pie

My grandmother made this treat every year for Christmas. It’s much better than everyday apple pie. The recipe is a family treasure. —Maxine Theriauit, Nashua, New Hampshire
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Pumpkin Charlotte

My mother-in-law gave me this recipe a while back and I just love it! I make it for my husband and his friends during hunting season and it's a big hit. —Lorelle Edgcomb, Granville, Illinois
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Apricot-Pecan Sugarplums

We deliver these fast and easy sweets to an assisted living home during the holidays and the residents love them! We also layer the ingredients in a canning jar, attach an instruction card around the lid and give the festive jars as gifts. These no-bake treats look beautiful in individual cookie tins, too! —Mandy Nall, Montgomery, Alabama
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Granny's Gingerbread Cake with Caramel Sauce

The rich molasses and spice flavor of this old-time dessert is complemented with a buttery caramel sauce.—Joy Sparks, Muskegon, Michigan
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Dutch Speculaas

These Dutch spice cookies taste similar to the windmill cookies we enjoy in the United States. In Holland, it's tradition to mold the dough into the shape of St. Nicholas and serve the baked cookies on Sinterklaas (St. Nicholas Day). —Taste of Home Test Kitchen
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German Chocolate Tassies

My son and I love chocolate, so I made this brownie-like recipe to satisfy any chocolate lover. The pecans add a welcome crunch. —John Williams, Beaumont, Texas
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Sticky Toffee Pudding with Butterscotch Sauce

The classic Sticky Toffee Pudding is a traditional dessert in the United Kingdom. I love that I can just stay home and bake this cake version, featuring saucy butterscotch. —Agnes Ward, Stratford, Ontario
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Mocha Baked Alaskas

Make these baked Alaskas ahead of time—you can torch the completed desserts and freeze them up to 24 hours before serving. —Kerry Dingwall, Ponte Vedra, Florida
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Texas Pecan Pralines

My pecan praline recipe is special to me for I received it from my mother, who was an excellent cook! I also am a Texas Aggie Mom and I use pecans from a South Texas Aggie grower that our Aggie Mom's club has purchased from for many years. The quality is outstanding and far better than you will find in any grocery store. —Carol Jones, Blue Ridge, Texas
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Dark Chocolate Bourbon Balls

Remember the days at Grandma and Grandpa's house when you made these wonderfully traditional treats? We love these Kentucky Derby bourbon balls—the blended taste of bourbon and pecans is irresistible! —Taste of Home Test Kitchen
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Steamed Carrot Pudding

This recipe has been in my family for at least three generations, passed down from my Canadian grandmother. It's been a favorite wintertime dessert for us and always included for Easter dinner and other holiday meals. —Ann Searcey, Kettering, Ohio
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Coffee-Glazed Molasses Cookies

I dreamed up these molasses cookies while sipping coffee and watching snow fall. The aroma from the baking cookies reaches all corners of the house. —Faith Ford, Big Lake, Minnesota
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Daisy's Fruitcake

I added pecans and candied fruits to an apple cake recipe for my Texan take on traditional English fruitcake. —Daisy Corene McHorse, San Saba, Texas
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Eggnog Pie

Even better than holiday eggnog in a glass is eggnog on a plate! This creamy pie delivers all that rich, wonderful flavor. It’s pretty, too, with a sprinkling of nutmeg on top. —Florence Shaw, East Wenatchee, Washington
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Pecan Meltaways

This sweet, nutty pecan balls recipe is a tradition in our house at Christmastime, but the treats are delightful any time of the year. —Alberta McKay, Bartlesville, Oklahoma
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Chocolate Cake Roll with Praline Filling

This show-stopping cake roll was one of the first “complicated” recipes I ever attempted to prepare. I discovered it was easier to make than I’d thought--and worth every bit of effort! — Joan Carrico, Grand Junction, Colorado
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Raspberry Linzer Cookies

These wonderful cookies require a bit of extra effort to make and assemble, but the delight on the faces of family and friends when I serve them makes it all worthwhile. —Schelby Thompson, Camden Wyoming, Delaware
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Nana's Rocky Road Fudge

We make rocky road-style fudge every Christmas and it’s a tradition, but why wait until the holidays for a recipe this good? —Ashley Berry, Montgomery Village, Maryland
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Mincemeat Trifle

Instead of fixing a traditional pie, I gussied up mincemeat by creating this fancy trifle. The recipe's a time-saver, since it can be prepared a day ahead.
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Chocolate Chiffon Cake

If you want to offer family and friends a dessert that really stands out from the rest, this is the cake to make. The beautiful high, rich sponge cake is drizzled with a succulent chocolate glaze. —Erma Fox, Memphis, Missouri
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Gingerbread Cutout Cookies

Our two boys linger around the kitchen when these homemade gingerbread cookies are baking. I make this gingerbread cookie recipe throughout the year using a variety of cookie cutters. —Christy Thelan, Kellogg, Iowa
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Christmas Bread Pudding

I served this bread pudding at the first Christmas dinner I made for my in-laws. Everyone loved it! —Jennifer Dignin, Westerville, Ohio
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Decorated Christmas Cutout Cookies

Rich, buttery sugar cookie cutouts like these never last long at a party. They're one of my favorite homemade Christmas cookies. I use seasonal cutters to celebrate the holidays tastefully. —Lynn Burgess, Rolla, Missouri
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Apple-Walnut Cake with Orange Glaze

I tinkered with a plain apple cake recipe to create this moist, delicious winner. The result: old-fashioned goodness with a heavenly aroma! This cake is the perfect fall treat or holiday dessert, but it’s also great as a special breakfast or brunch item. —Lisa Speer, Palm Beach, Florida

Grace Mannon
Grace is a full-time mom with a Master's degree in Food Science. She loves to experiment in the kitchen and writes about her hits (and misses) on her blog, A Southern Grace.
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